Combatants are forced by the "powers that be" to brawl, box or otherwise fight. Sometimes to the death. TheHero is sometimes caught up in it all or may deliberately go in undercover to expose the racket.

Occurs most often in prison and prisoner-of-war settings.

A common variation has our hero assigned to a trainer, in order to prepare him for his most deadly fight -- when the fight commences, he discovers that his trainer is to be his opponent.

See also: DeadlyGame, GladiatorGames, TheBoxingEpisode, HuntingTheMostDangerousGame, DavidVersusGoliath, AchillesHeel, TournamentArc, InvoluntaryBattleToTheDeath and possibly CombatByChampion. If prisoners are involved it's a CondemnedContestant fighting to WinYourFreedom. May take place in TheThunderdome.



[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* ''Manga/AkumaNoRiddle'' is about eleven competing assassins, a target, and a protector, [[{{Masquerade}} masquerading]] as a regular high school class. To win the game, an assassin needs to deliver a notice to the target to alert her of their assassination attempt, and complete the assassination within 48 hours after the notice is received, without at any point allowing anyone outside the class (including their teacher) to know about the game. Winning means being given anything they want, while losing permanently eliminates them from the competition via expulsion. It ends when the target is killed, or by the time the class graduates.
* The second episode of ''Anime/WeissKreuz'' is based on this trope: Fujimiya Aya goes undercover as a participant in so-called Human Chess prizefights.
* This happens in the Coliseum episodes of ''LightNovel/KinosJourney'', when Kino is forced to fight to amuse a country's insane despot.
* There's the trainer variation in ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'', [[spoiler: where [[LargeHam Jack Rakan]] turns out to be the final match out of the Ostia tournament]]. It was [[PlayingWithATrope almost]] going to be used in the [[TournamentArc Mahora Fest]], but then [[spoiler: Evangeline got knocked out by Setsuna.]] [[SureLetsGoWithThat But she MEANT for that to happen.]]
* ''Manga/{{Golgo13}}'': In [[ "The Brutes' Banquet"]] 2 bloodsports followers have Golgo duel another assassin to see who wins.
* During the Chuunin exams in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', all the genin have to fight each other to advance, though naturally, the only kids from the same village who get matched up are those with scores to settle, and everyone else gets paired with a foreigner.
** Except Naruto and Kiba. And Sasuke and Yoroi. So really only half of the Leaf v. Leaf fights.
* ''Manga/TokyoESP'': In Part 2 of the series, Espers are forced into fights via tournament to the death or knock-down. [[spoiler:The protagonist herself enters into it to save as many as she can as an agent of the CIA.]]


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* Similar to the ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' examples below, the Roulette storylines in ''[[ComicBook/JusticeSocietyOfAmerica JSA]]'' and ''[[Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica JLA Classified]]''.
** And War World was also based on a storyline in ''{{Superman}}'' comics.
* One [[UsefulNotes/TheBronzeAgeOfComicBooks Bronze Age]] comic set this up between Franchise/{{Superman}} and ''Muhammad Ali''.
* Some of the Franchise/{{Superman}}[=/=]Franchise/TheFlash races were like this.
** Only the ones "for charity"; anytime the Flash really bothers to actually ''try,'' it's way too much of a CurbStompBattle to count.
* ''ThePunisher'' went through this once. While chasing a mob goon across roof tops, both of them end up crashing into a ring where they're forced to team up to survive. At the end of the story, the thug thinks he has won Frank's respect, but the next day Frank tracks him down and kills him.
* In the ''Franchise/{{Batman}}/Wildcat'' mini-series, members of Batman's RoguesGallery are kidnapped and forced to fight one another in a series of cage matches.
* The concept behind the Dark Side Club in Franchise/TheDCU.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Cavewoman}}: Oasis'', Meriem is abducted and forced to fight in GladiatorGames in an arena called the 'Bowl of Bones'.
* In #3 of the ''ComicBook/GrimmFairyTales Presents ComicBook/RobynHood'' ongoing series, Robyn and Red are captured by a gang of supernatural creatures and forced to battle each other in a barbed wire cage match.


[[folder: Films -- Animated ]]

* The 2009 ''WesternAnimation/AstroBoy'' film has one of these in the robot games. [[spoiler:As you can probably guess, the titular boy ends up in them against his will. He (unwillingly) destroys almost every robot sent against him - until Zog shows up. Fortunately, Zog won't fight him either.]]


[[folder: Films -- Live-Action ]]

* ''Film/{{Tron}}'': The [[MasterComputer Master Control Program]] forces other living programs who defy it to participate in video games-which for a program are battles to the death.
* Max must participate on one against Blaster in the eponymous Thunderdome in ''Film/MadMaxBeyondThunderdome''
* In the first Plissken film, ''Film/EscapeFromNewYork'', it's a more conventional boxing/wrestling match he's forced to participate in.
* ''Film/EscapeFromLA'': In a variation, Snake Plissken, an unbeatable dirty fighter, has to win a steel-cage ''basketball game'' in order to escape. The danger coming from the fact that if he doesn't make enough goals, he gets shot to pieces. Notably, the game is ''impossible'': it requires scoring 25 points (standard basketball rules apply), crossing the court each time, in ''60 seconds''. Which makes the fact that Snake ''succeeds'' all the more badass. The last shot is full-court, and Creator/KurtRussell ''actually made the shot in real life''.
* In ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', it is {{implied}} that ComicBook/TheJoker has the thugs of a crime boss he has just killed fight to the death with a broken pool cue, as he "only had one opening" in the gang he was forming. Being the Joker, it was almost certainly [[ForTheEvulz for his own amusement]].
** A bit of [[FridgeHorror fridge horror]], it may have been to either make sure only the most ruthless and sociopathic of the thugs would join him, or to break the mind of the survivor so that he would be "appropriately" insane and thus fit in with the Joker's other men. Think about Batman's line about Thomas Schiff: "A paranoid schizophrenic, the kind of mind the Joker attracts."
* The premise of the movie ''Film/{{Bloodlines}}'': a family of inbreds seeking new blood abducts girls and forces them to fight to the death to determine who the strongest is; the "winner" is then forcibly impregnated.
* ''Film/{{Unleashed}}'' (aka ''Danny the Dog'')-- Danny (played by Jet Li) is entered into such a tournament by the gangster who essentially owns him.
* A major subplot of ''Film/{{Snatch}}'' involves first getting the UsefulNotes/IrishTravellers fighting machine Mickey into a fixed underground boxing match, and then forcing him to actually go along with the fix.
* In ''Film/{{Spartacus}}'', the titular character is forced to fight right near the beginning for the amusement of Crassus and his companions, despite Batiatus's attempt to save him from fighting.
* The final dare in ''Film/{{Nerve}}'' involves [[spoiler:Vee and Ian]] each being given a gun. The first one to shoot the other wins.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''Literature/TheHungerGames'' is this with a twist - the fight to the death involves children aged 12 to 18, and it's also televised nationwide as a mandatory-viewing RealityShow.
* The novel ''[[Literature/JohnRain Hard Rain]]'' (not to be confused with the [[Film/HardRain film]], which is not related) has titular character (and hitman) John Rain go undercover in order to find a {{Fight Club|bing}} like this. He winds up killing his opponent.
* In the ''Literature/SwordDancer'' series, Tiger is forced into a sword dance to the death he'd really rather avoid when Del is taken hostage. Fortunately, he's able to TakeAThirdOption.
** Tiger and Del are professional duelists. They're both forced into duels with people they didn't think they'd have to fight, or don't want to fight, quite frequently.
* In ''[[Literature/TheHollows Dead Witch Walking]]'' by Kim Harrison, the protagonist, having transformed into a mink in order to spy on the BigBad, is caught and entered into a fighting competition with other small mammals. When one of her opponents turns out to be a transformed human himself, they coordinate an escape together.
* In ''Discworld/TheAmazingMauriceAndHisEducatedRodents'', the clan leader Hamnpork ends up taken to a rat-coursing pit, and Darktan ends up organizing a rescue.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''Series/TheATeam'' episode "Pros and Cons"
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'', "The Ring"
** Also pops up at least once in the comics and one 'Buffy' tie-in novel. The tie-in writers seem to like making Buffy fight Angel.
* ''Series/TheSentinel'': a prison warden has prisoners fight each other at night. Anyone who knows is either part of the scheme or knows that they will be killed if they tell others.
* ''Series/RacketSquad'': in [[ 'The Knock-Out']] a con game group stages [[TheBoxingEpisode boxing]] [[ForcedPrizefight fights]] that are said to be rigged. During the fight the victim attends, one of the fighters fakes his death in the ring. Then the victim is convinced that going to the police or Boxing Commission will result in everybody being indicted for manslaughter.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'', "Arena", "The Gamesters of Triskelion" and several others.
** {{Homage}}d in the ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before".
* ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'', "Tsunkatse". Includes the trainer-becomes-opponent bit. And a guest appearance from Wrestling/TheRock! (fighting Seven Of Nine. No weight classes here!)
* ''Series/StargateSG1'' episode 908, "Babylon".
* Happened in an episode of ''Series/LaFemmeNikita'', when Nikita infiltrates a club that compels women to fight with [[ExplosiveLeash pain collars]].
* In ''Series/{{Rome}}'', a bored Mark Antony forces two prostitutes to swordfight for him while dressed like amazons. He watches from his bed, insisting that they "really fight!"
** Similarly, Pullo is forced into the Gladiator arena as punishment for a murder. Totally disheartened, he refuses to even lift his sword and waits for execution. The other gladiators taunt him until they find his BerserkButton: taunting his old Legion. He promptly kills them, earning his CrowningMomentOfAwesome. One final gladiator comes out to finish the job, only Lucius Vorenus ''jumps into the ring'' and earns '''his''' CrowningMomentOfAwesome.
* Similar to the Justice League example above, an episode of ''Series/BirdsOfPrey'' had Huntress be captured and brainwashed into fighting other super-powered women.
* Occurs in the first episode of ''Series/LostGirl'' after Bo discovers her Fae background.
* ''Series/{{Merlin}}'':
** "The Coming Of Arthur", after Merlin and Arthur and, separately, Gwaine are captured by slave traders. There's an attempt to make Merlin fight Gwaine, but Arthur steps in.
** Later, at the end of season 4, Gwaine is forced by Morgana to fight increasingly larger groups of Helios' men in order to get (very little) food for himself, Gaius, and Elyan.
* The ''Series/{{MASH}}'' episode "Requiem For A Lightweight" has Trapper cajoled into a boxing match against a Marine in order to keep a cute nurse from being transferred.


[[folder: Newspaper Comics ]]

* Happens in the ''ComicStrip/ModestyBlaise'' "Those About to Die" storyline.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In ''VisualNovel/{{Danganronpa}}'', the prize is "graduation", i.e. "being able to leave high school[=/=]jail alive. The objective: kill your classmate without getting caught.
* Video game example (Subversion?): In ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireIII'', the main character is put into this situation, in the "win or die" version. He ''loses'', but as he is the prize demanded by the winner, he is let off the hook.
* Happens in the Xbox game ''VideoGame/FableI''. In which, at the end of the Tournament Arc, you have the option of killing your character's childhood friend after besting her in combat in exchange for exorbitant amounts of money.
** Exorbitant? you get three times that if you make it through the arena without leaving.
* In ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV: The Ballad of Gay Tony'', Luis is forced to enter a cage match and take a dive in order to pay off his mother's debts.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' has one in ''The Pitt'' DLC: after getting captured by slavers and forced to scavenge steel ingots, the second primary quest of the DLC has you using all the equipment you gathered during your scavenge operation in pitfights against other slaves. The fight is to the death and at the beginning, the slavers dump several barrels of highly radioactive sludge into the pit to give you an additional incentive at winning quickly (before you reach 1000 rads and drop dead). There are three fights; winning the third will make the slavers impressed enough that you're freed from slavery and given all your stuff back.
* VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim has the quest "The House of Horrors" in Markarth, in which the player character and a Vigilant of Stendaar are locked in a house together by a [[{{EldritchAbomination}} Daedric Prince]] and forced to fight to the death.

[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'' - Many tests that allow the Regulars to climb the Tower are tests designed to pit Regulars against Regulars.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/CelebrityDeathmatch'' had a couple episodes where fans voted for a deathmatch between two celebrities that had no reason to dislike each other. The league then invoked this trope with the "Fan of Fandemonium" - a giant bladed ceiling fan that lowered down towards the ring if the two celebrities didn't hurry up and kill each other.
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'', "The Cat and the Canary" and "Grudge Match". Both featured a secret underground super-powered fighting circuit run by the villainess Roulette. The latter episode resorted to [[{{Brainwashed}} mind control]] to effect [[FanService girl]]-on-[[{{fetish}} girl]] {{Catfight}}s.
** ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' also had "War World".
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'' episode "Grudge Match" pits Ben against a more-than-willing-to-beat-the-snot-out-of-him Kevin, as well as other alien gladiators after being teleported from Earth.
* The ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' episode "Winner Take All" actually dupes Robin, Cyborg, and Beast Boy into fighting each other and other "heroes" for so-called fabulous prizes. [[spoiler:It's actually a setup so the VillainOfTheWeek can steal all the fighters' powers.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/MegasXLR'' features this trope in two episodes, wherein Coop must fight other robots and ultimately the promoter, Magnanimous (expertly voiced by character actor Bruce Campbell).
* Happened in a ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'' episode when he was very much forced into fighting in "The Dome of Doom."
** Also occurred in another episode with a twist: Jack had been [[{{Animorphism}} transformed into a chicken]].
* ''WesternAnimation/FriskyDingo'': "Penultimate Fighting" has Killface and Barnaby (i.e. Xander Crews) forced to fight to the death to get Simon back.